White Eldrazi



  • Wanted to cc: in a quote from @JACO in another thread, for reference: The far more devastating effect of the Thorn of Amethyst restriction is to White Eldrazi. Thorn + Thalia was the basis for that deck to begin with, so I think now is the time for those White Eldrazi decks to widely adopt Null Rod/Stony Silence, as well as fully integrate Sanctum Prelate in to their builds, and change their manabase slightly to accommodate the necessary change. I played a fair amount of Prelate in the end of 2016 and early 2017 (in both Eldrazi and Junk Hatebears decks), and it is as good as advertised, if you can cast it on time.

    When I last played the deck pre-ban, I had gone down to 3 Temples and upped the basic Plains count to 5, in addition to the 2 Karakas, for non-Cavern white mana sources.

    Is it time to start playing Caves of Koilos in the deck as well since there is still some synergy with the Eldrazi colorless requirement? If so, is 2, too many? I hadn't thought of the Sanctum Prelate option to this point but it's such a great idea (if it can be cast consistently), although a turn slower than you would often want to be.



  • @loukayza shefet dunes is better than caves of koilos, no?



  • Has anyone gotten any testing in with Spyglass? I'm considering replacing my 2 MD Null Rods with Spyglasses (Rod has been such a double edged sword), but I'm not really gonna have time to test before EW.



  • @stuart I have been playing with 2-3 MD online the last few weeks. I was lucky enough to play against @Oestrus in the Vintage Challenge this past weekend and did get to have the ultimate joy of naming Bazaar with Spyglass game 1 against Dredge. Then Erin proceeded to steam roll me games 2 and 3 with 4/4 and 5/5s. Oh the irony. I am supposed to be the one attacking with 4/4 and 5/5s.

    It's hard to evaluate the card still. Besides the best play of naming Bazaar, the fact that it lets you see your opponents hand is critical early on. Waiting to cast uncounterable TKS is fun, but by then you may have already had your Temple wasted or you set COTV to the wrong number. I have named Tarn (hitting 2 tarns) to only have the opponent draw Volc. I have named Dack to have the opponent draw JTMS.

    I am still on the 2 MD plan right now. For EW, it is a bit different because of budgetary concerns with players. Dredge will probably be more represented in paper than online. Remember priest and Cage do nothing against Hollow one and Gurmag Angler. Stopping Bazaar does stop both of these cards from landing, indirectly. Spyglass is the best at this.

    Remains to be seen if this card is worth it.



  • I've read this entire thread and I'm sure I'd learn a good deal more from another complete re-read. Naïf that I am, however, my thoughts turn particularly to the mana base and I'd like to see if we can arrive at a better consensus for a more or less ideal base here.

    I assume we can take it as given that we are going to need to cast at least 5cmc Eldrazi. It looks like a lot of us are also going to want to cast spells with WW in the cost, whether Palace Jailer, Sanctum Prelate, Linvala, Keeper of Silence or something off the wall like Council's Judgment (anti-True-Name Nemesis tech). (Obviously local meta may affect the selection.)

    Anyway, a mana base looking like:

    looks not far off the lists that most people have posted to this thread, but seems pretty light on white mana production for that. All we have are the Lotus, the Pearl, 2 Karakas (one at a time), and 5 Plains, for a total of 9 white sources and the Lotus can only be used once. I'm pretty sure I recall seeing someone somewhere had a calculation for how many sources you needed to have a probability of p for being able to cast a spell with n of a colored mana requirement by turn t, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Still, 9 white sources seems way too low to reliably case xWW spells by turn 4-5, which is often the point where it's cast your critical spell or die. (Or, too often, be dead already.)

    Cavern obviously can help with the Jailer, the Prelate, either Thalia or the Priest, but Linvala or any non-creature spell seems like a pretty dicey and potentially serious problem.

    Adding more white sources looks basically like adding Plains and that means removing the multi-mana lands like Tombs and Temples, which seems approximately equally dangerous.

    So, I want to solicit your collective wisdom here. Should we just plan on avoiding anything with WW in the casting cost or does anyone have a better idea?

    Thanks,
    Paul



  • Most of these calculations use the hypergeometric distribution. For example, not including cavern of souls you have a 60 card deck with 9 white mana sources. By turn 5 you will see 11-12 cards depending upon play first/draw first and assuming you draw one card per turn. You want the probability of drawing into at least 2 white sources. Using a hypergeometric calculator (http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/hypergeometric.aspx) and assuming 12 cards, for this example, the probability is 58%. This jumps to 80% if you include cavern of souls so that the number of white mana sources jumps to 13.



  • @prn said in White Eldrazi:

    I assume we can take it as given that we are going to need to cast at least 5cmc Eldrazi. It looks like a lot of us are also going to want to cast spells with WW in the cost, whether Palace Jailer, Sanctum Prelate, Linvala, Keeper of Silence or something off the wall like Council's Judgment (anti-True-Name Nemesis tech). (Obviously local meta may affect the selection.)

    A lot of these cards are Legacy cards though. Palace Jailer, Linvala and TNN don't seem like relevant cards in Vintage... Council's Judgment is also lackluster. The only WW card I'd understand playing of these is Prelate.



  • @fsecco said in White Eldrazi:

    A lot of these cards are Legacy cards though. Palace Jailer, Linvala and TNN don't seem like relevant cards in Vintage... Council's Judgment is also lackluster. The only WW card I'd understand playing of these is Prelate.

    Actually, @wappla discussed the fact that he used Linvala in at least one instance. Prelate and Jailer have also both come up in this thread.

    You may not run into TNN in Vintage, but I lost to it in two games last weekend and had nothing in my deck (a rogue red deck) that could deal with it at all. My best hope would have been to stick a Blood Moon early to turn off his Cavern and then counter his TNN with REB. Not a very strong chance. Admittedly, I was playing a doofus deck just because I'm a doofus, but still, it's not the sort of thing I want to do all the time. (Just when I'm feeling like a doofus.) Last weekend, I went 2-2, losing to Merfolk 2-0, winning 2-0 against Oath, winning 2-1 against Ravager Shops and losing 1-2 against Dredge. I'm not enough of a Spike that I have to play the top deck all the time, but at least some of the time I'd like to be prepared for what I have a high probability of facing and at my LGS, Merfolk is not at all unlikely.

    @marcb Thanks, that was what I was thinking of. I had forgotten where I had seen it. Now that you remind me of it, SaffronOlive had a nice description of it and how to apply it at https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/brewer-s-minute-hypergeometric-distribution-in-deck-building.

    Anyway, a probability of ~58% isn't bad if we're talking about something like having your wincon on board by turn 4-5, but isn't quite so appetizing (to me) when we're talking about a "save or die" effect. I suppose we actually may get another 2-4 turns against TNN, but against Emrakul, the Aeons Torn whatever we have sided in needs to be effective as soon as, and as reliably as, possible because we're not going to have many chances to cast anything. You can use effects (as opposed to spells) against Emrakul, but I wouldn't mind being able to use the same SB cards against both her and TNN and, e.g., Fairgrounds Warden would work against Emrakul, but not against TNN.

    In my inimitable long-winded way, that's why I feel concerned about casting xWW spells with a mana base like this. I suppose that this is just why WEldrazi is not quite a "Tier 1" deck.

    Thanks,
    Paul



  • @prn It's just that dedicating a SB card for such a narrow use like TNN feels unwanted. Isn't this deck capable of racing Merfolk (specially since you have no islands)? Isn't something like Ratchet Bomb better and more flexible? That's my point.
    I love Palace Jailer, but for me in Vintage you are either playing against decks that can steal Monarch easily (Shops, Merfolk) or against deck in which your deck is already good against (control).
    Linvala also feels worse than Cursed Totem (or Null Rod). If it was a human or eldrazi, I could get behind her as a SB against shops. I just think playing WW cards that aren't human or eldrazi (for Cavern) will just dilute your manabase. I mean, I know that's the whole issue you are discussing, I just meant that spending slots to combat narrow cards seems bad to me. :)



  • Thanks @prn for this discussion! The White Eldrazi manabase always feels a little shaky, so good to see people puzzling out how to optimize it. The manabase you've laid out looks pretty good, though I'd like to see a 3rd Eldrazi Temple. I think that slot would have to come from the spells/creatures - I wouldn't cut any of other lands for it.

    For what it's worth, I'm not sold on the deck needing any WW cards either. Prelate's the most appealing one, but I feel like Glowrider can fill that role pretty well while being easier to cast.



  • @fsecco Thanks for your helpful commentary. I do appreciate it. I didn't really intend to get into a discussion about specific SB cards, but it appears we have one, so I'll just say this: I don't have any particular intention of playing Jailer or Linvala myself. I mentioned them only because they had already been brought up by others in this thread. Similarly, I may or may not actually find Council's Judgment worth playing. In fact, I have not yet played White Eldrazi at all. Since I have had opportunities to play 100% proxies, though, I have wanted to change things up and play a number of different decks. You are probably right that I would be better off simply racing Merfolk with an Eldrazi deck. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm more than willing to take some advice.

    So, to return to the original topic, it looks like your summary would boil down to "don't do that" with respect to using xWW cards. "Pick a different strategy." The mana base just can't handle double white. It looks like @Stuart is pretty much on board with that too.

    I can live with that. In fact, overall, it looks like it may be the best way to proceed.

    Does anyone else draw different conclusions? What experience can anyone offer that would support or reject xWW? I'm not yet committed to a course of action. I'm really interested to learn from anyone who can tell me anything useful.

    Thanks,
    Paul



  • @prn The main reason to steer away from WW is because the best thing this deck has is being able to use lands that tap for 2. When you reduce Eldrazi Temple's usefulness, the deck loses its appeal. So for example, reducing to 2 temples make TKS and Smasher so much worse that it starts being better to just play mono-white hatebears instead (which is an archetype that has been gaining traction of late).



  • @fsecco Excellent point. And with that, I think I'll just add another temple. :)



  • I played White Eldrazi at a 9-man event yesterday. Went 2-2, beating Landstill and Dredge, and losing to Mentor and Moon Stompy.

    I'm learning that White Eldrazi absolutely follows the typical hatebears trajectory: it's capable of insane starts, but if your opponent answers what you're doing, you really struggle to catch back up. (For example, in game 3 against Mentor I lead with turn 1 THC, turn 2 Smasher. I got my opponent down to 4, but then he was able to Time Walk, Abrade the Thalia, and Plow the Smasher. From there he beat me down with double Snapcaster and Mana Crypt flips, and I could never draw/resolve anything to bail me out.)

    With that in mind, I think I've gotta add Balance to the board, but I'm wondering if anyone has other suggestions for cards that can catch you back up from unfavorable positions? Palace Jailer comes to mind, though I'd prefer to avoid WW if I can.


  • TMD Supporter

    Could Staff of Domination help by tapping a creature or with card draw, or is it too expensive?



  • @ydl I like where your head is at, but Staff seems pretty slow (especially factoring in all the Thorn effects in this deck).

    It doesn't draw cards, but maybe Master Decoy?!

    . . . Nah, that's dumb. I dunno, I'll keep stewing.


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